I have been through a lot of really bad relationships. How can I learn to trust others again?
When entering a relationship in the future, keep the following five considerations in mind:
1. Take your time before entering a relationship.
Instead of worrying about trusting in future partners, begin to build innocent friendships with decent people of the opposite gender. This safe environment will help you to see that there are plenty of good, genuine people out there.
2. Date someone you can see potentially marrying.
Now we’re not saying that as soon as you meet someone you need to immediately start planning your marriage together! What we mean is, do you see a future in which this person could be your spouse. Are they genuine with you? Do they respect you? Are they able to commit? How do they treat their family member of the same gender as you? On the flip side how do you answer these questions about them? Like before, a healthy friendship with someone is the best place to understand these things in a safe environment with no expectations!
We help to build trust here because if you can answer in a positive way about each of the questions and you both go in trying to make a relationship that will last, you have a firm foundation to grow from.
3. Date someone who loves God more than they love you.
Its unhealthy to expect one person to fulfill all of our and without God to give us the full perspective of how to love a persons, expectations can be quite unbalanced. As we are made for the infinite love of God, only God can satisfy this desire. By dating someone developing their communion with God, we can hope for a firm foundation of love from which trust can grow.
A deep relationship with God gives someone a healthy understanding of love, because God is the source of love. When someone has gone to the source of love and found deep fulfillment in their relationship with God, they begin to see the true value of all people. The knock on effect of this is that if you are in a relationship with you, they are more likely to respect and love you in a mutually beneficial way.
All people, Christian or otherwise, have a deep and natural calling to love. Original sin clouds and complicates this because we no longer innately know the best thing to do for people. Prayer and relationship brings back clarity and it is hoped that the person who becomes aware of the true nature of love will then life out these values, creating a healthy base for trust to grow from.
4. Do not carry on a relationship with someone who is unable to resist temptation.
You are valuable and important. Everyone deserves to be treated with great love and respect, especially in relationships. The love we are shown by our other half is in many ways a foretaste of the infinite love we will experience in communion with God in heaven. One of the greatest ways someone can show this deep love for you is to resist their physical desire for your until they have truly got to know you’re spiritual and emotional self. By waiting for marriage before making love together, the act of sex has become a physical expression of the deep love they have for your entire self.
When your other half is unable to control their physical desire for you it causes unnecessary problems in the relationship and with trust. The old sayings of ‘do they really love me, or just want to sleep with me?’ and ‘can I trust them to only have friendships with other men/women’ can very easily become haunting and painful thoughts of your own. In this situation the kindest thing for both of you is to stop dating.
This may at first sound harsh, but consider first them. If their main drive for dating you is to have sex, they are not in the right mindset to be in a relationship. You are far more than just your body and if they are unable to show that they understand this, they need to take a step back. They need to learn to see this about you and your gender if they are every going to have a healthy relationship in the future. By engaging in friendships with nothing expected physically from the other gender, this person will grow to be far better a person if they take the opportunity.
One your side of things, by getting out of this relationship you remove yourself from what could be an incredibly damaging relationship for both your emotional health and your ability to trust.
5. Learn to be as comfortable in your singleness
Especially if you are in high school. Take some time for just you and God. Having alone time with the Lord is part of the healing process. In addition, having God-centered relationships will help to mend the wounds of the past. To find the healing and love that you truly deserve, turn to God and follow his lead in your relationships.
Spend time developing a core relationship with God. The more you get to know him, the more you will be able to recognize others that resemble him and those that do not. Recognize that the ones who are most like him are most worthy of trust, but do not be quick to give your heart away. The Lord can heal anything, but the healing of wounds and the rebuilding of trust is a process that takes time.
Be patient with yourself in this process. It’s perfectly natural that you would want to guard your heart right now. In time, you will see that some deserve trust while others deserve none. My God grant you the wisdom and courage to know the difference.